Everyone was in agreement. This year’s Marine Ball, held at the Hyatt Regency on Dubai’s Deira Corniche on April 12th, was a huge success.
The Ball, the 30th organised by the UAE branch of the Nautical Institute, was first held in 1988. However for the past three years it has not taken place, as a result of changing regulatory requirements. The current committee, led by its chairman, McQuilling’s Captain Harihar Prasad, decided to overcome these obstacles and relaunch the event after the hiatus. What a good decision it turned out to be!
Around 390 people from across the local maritime community attended the black tie Ball, which this year adopted the theme ‘Empowering Women in Shipping’, in line with the IMO theme for World Maritime Day 2019. Appropriately the guests of honour were two distinguished women in shipping, Fatima Haji Al Wahedi, Senior Manager – Finance at DMCA and Captain Sahar Rasti, the first female Emirati master of a vessel.
Speaking at the event Captain Harihar praised the efforts of all women who work in the shipping industry and the contribution they make. He also paid tribute to those women who empower and support their husbands working within the demanding industry.
Captain Harihar highlighted the charitable work of the Nautical Institute, including its support for the breast cancer awareness charity, Pink Caravan. The Institute also supports stranded seafarers in the UAE. “We managed this for three ships last year,” he said. “As well as food and water, we made sure they got their dues.”
A special fund raising auction was held at the Ball where several notable items were auctioned off on the night, having been generously donated. This raised an astonishing AED 50,000 for Nautical Institute supported charities which will go to supporting these good causes over the year ahead. Ocean Fair successfully bid for a model of the BBC Anglia general cargo vessel; Captain Sahar Rasti secured a Nautical Institute binnacle and a model of the tanker, Texaco Oslo; and the Maritime Standard placed the highest bid for the MENAS lamp.